October 4, 2009
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Ellen Page is what will bring most of the audience to this movie, and for good reason. This movie is a film about following your heart, which Ellen clearly has been doing with the films she has picked since her Oscar nom for Juno. Once again she shines through, giving this movie a character you love and root for. Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is definitely a crowning achievement on Barrymore’s otherwise uneven career. Casting fellow comedians and friends just brings this movie to life, laughing all the while.
The story follows Bliss, a debutante-to-be. She doesn’t enjoy the pageant circuit though her mother keeps trying to live her pageant days through her. One day, mom and Bliss go shopping in Austin (this film is steeped in Texas) where Bliss sees an ad for roller derby. She cons her parents into letting her go and she quickly becomes involved in the sport. This is a sports film that doesn’t push all the clichés down your throat. There are some clichés, but they are handled with a delicacy that eliminates parody. The scenes involving the derbies (which included actual roller derby girls) become visceral and exciting, like watching a good football movie. The humor in this movie hits more often than it misses, and is way more broad than Diablo Cody’s Juno zeitgeist speak. All in all, a great movie. One you can enjoy with almost anyone. 4 out of 5 stars.